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Value of information analysis as a decision support tool for biosecurity

July 21, 2017

This chapter demonstrates the economic concept of ‘value of information’(VOI), and how biosecurity managers can use VOI analysis to decide whether or not to reduce uncertainty by collecting additional information through monitoring, experimentation, or some other form of research. We first explore how some uncertainties may be scientifically interesting to resolve, but ultimately irrelevant to decision-making. We then develop a prototype model where a manager must choose between eradication or containment of an infestation. Eradication is more cost-effective for smaller infestations, but once the extent reaches a certain size it becomes more cost-effective to contain. When choosing between eradication and containment, how much does knowing the extent of the infestation more exactly improve the outcome of the decision? We calculate the expected value of perfect information (EVPI) about the extent, which provides an upper limit for the value of reducing uncertainty. We then illustrate the approach using the example of red imported fire ant management in south-east Queensland. We calculate the EVPI for three different uncertain variables: the extent of the infestation, the sensitivity (true positive rate) of remote sensing, and the efficacy of baiting.

Publication Year 2017
Title Value of information analysis as a decision support tool for biosecurity
DOI 10.1017/9781139019606.016
Authors Michael C. Runge, Tracy Rout, Daniel Spring, Terry Walshe
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70189722
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center